Time for an email fisking…

This is a selection of a few of the more egregious emails I have received over the past fortnight.

Charlotte wrote: “Now we’re in the midst of the summer holiday period, we wanted to send you some information which might be useful for anything you might be writing about on late holiday bookings / travel insurance in the coming few weeks?”

I asked you why you thought my blog was likely to write about travel insurance for the credit card no one should leave home without, but you didn’t reply.

Lucinda wrote: “Over the coming months we would like to keep you up to date with all the latest straight from [funfair venue]. In case you haven’t heard, [funfair venue] is the magical world where all [chocolate flavoured chemical gloop] is made. We have so many exciting things coming up which we can’t wait to share with you and in the not very distant future we will send you an email letting you know that something magical is on its way, something that still hasn’t hit the shops yet…and then all you have to do is wait and discover.”

Based on the rest of the email, I think Lucinda has been overdosing on the happy pills and needs to lay off a bit. I also like chocolate far to much to write about chocolate flavoured chemical gloop, and will instead send you over to Paul A Young instead.

Stuart wanted to know if I would be “interest in adding a competition giveaway feature on your site, here is an exmaple of a recent one we ran recently”

Not really sure why you thought a pair of headphones from a high street retailer would be the sort of thing that is suitable for my website.

Cecily sent me a blank email on behalf of a petrol company with a gigantic missing image and an unwanted zip file, writing: “Please see attached zipped file with each individual infographic that can be downloaded and used for your purposes.”

Not only do I never ever use sodding infographics, but I would never ever write about a petrol firm’s self-declared eco-credentials.

Sarah said she is “working on behalf of a client who owns an equestrian apparel and related gears site” and wanted to put some links on my website.

I don’t think I have ever written about riding horses, and if you think a link to your client from my website helps your search engine efforts, then the client needs a new advisor.

Marta wanted to send me a load of tips “on how to apply to a Fashion / Design University – from tutors & current fashion students”

Sadly the fashion tips didn’t include the latest gear for climbing through underground tunnels or building sites.

Jeremie wrote just this morning to tell me about “one of the largest sports news content owners, and provide us with all of their highlights, interviews, and coverage of all the large sports events. Obviously this covers a lot of Football, and will be even more when the league kicks off this weekend.”

Yes, he actually looked at this blog and concluded that I would want to fill it up with tedious football commentary.


However, despite stating very clearly on the contact details page that I am not a travel blog, and I do NOT accept guest blog posts, I get at least one of these per day:

Ivan wrote: “I was wondering if you might consider placing a link to my client on your site? Ideally I would be looking to provide some content to be published as a new page / post.”

Rachel wrote: “I’m emailing you today on behalf of [dating website]. I’m very interested in discussing some potential ways in which we can work together”

Nikhil wrote: “I have an article about Weird and Wacky Olympic souvenirs and was wondering if it would be possible to guest post it on your blog.”

Triush wrote: “Would you be interested in trading guest blog post on our blog, [tacky looking travel website] ? We are a blog whose audience enjoys reading anything about travel. YOu could grace us with your tips.”

Nola wrote: “I’m a New Media specialist working for an advertising agency. We found your site as it’s has some great blog posts that are relevant to our client‘s site which deals with travels.”

So to reiterate my policy on PR companies and the like.

Read my blog – even just skim down the headlines on the front page to get an idea of what I write about.

If having looked at that you conclude that I am likely to write about credit cards, travel insurance, cheap chocolate etc, then at least explain how you came to that conclusion so that I can get some insight into the thinking process that goes on inside PR Towers, and modify my own behaviour as needed to avoid such misapprehensions being created.

In my day job I spend all day dealing with PR and press releases, and there the targeting of messages is so tight that out of 20-30 emails per day, I doubt I get more than one inappropriate email per week. So it is possible for PR to do its job properly.

I can only conclude that blogs are seen as the bottom-feeders in the PR industry and we will welcome anything.

You’re wrong!

I know there are some very good PR people out there. I deal with them on a regular basis, for work and this blog, and regularly welcome approaches from them for story ideas.

At least the crap ones give me a chance to fisk their ever more desperate attempts to plug their clients – and gives me an insight into which clients products I should avoid due to their spammy marketing efforts.



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  1. Sam F says:

    This is a great blog and you are absolutely right to protect its integrity and respect your readers. That is one reason why my morning coffee is not complete without checking for any new entries in here. Thanks for sharing all your adventures, Ian!

  2. You’re running a busy, popular website with a decent Google page rank of 5, so unfortunately you’re on the radar of hordes of SEO snake-oil salesmen. Some are probably stuck on miserable ‘work experience’ placements and just given a long list of email addresses to pester.

    Keep up the good work, between your site and the Londonist I found out all I need to know about what’s on in the capital.

  3. Pete Stean says:

    All I’m going to add to this thread is my utter admiration at your use of the verb ‘fisk’ in a blogpost!

  4. Jessica says:

    Haa just love your replies!

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